Although he was scratched from yesterday’s minor league start with strep throat, Kyle Hendricks must’ve been feeling pretty close to normal, because the Cubs let him really stretch out.
#Cubs Hendricks felt good enough yesterday to throw 7 innings in bullpen, 105 pitches
— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) March 21, 2018
Hendricks should still be good to go for his opening start, in game two against the Marlins. He could make another Cactus League start before then, or the Cubs may just shield him with a minor league outing. Assuming he feels healthy, I don’t think anyone doubts Hendricks’ readiness for the season, in terms of his arm.
It’ll be interesting to see if he has another early-season ramping up of velocity like last year, or if the way he’s changed his routine to protect his middle finger allows him to start from a baseline a little closer to that perfectly playable 87-88 mph range. (Recall, that middle finger flared up with tendinitis last year, costing him a big chunk of the season, and was also probably part of the velocity problem, since it ticked back up later in the year.)